Open Forum

First Day Lesson!

  • 1.  First Day Lesson!

    Posted 08-06-2019 15:55

    Hello all - as we are preparing for getting back into the classroom, I wanted to get feedback on what everyone does for their first lesson for their Intro to Drama courses - those general theatre courses that have a hodgepodge of students who have not taken a drama class before and might not be interested. These are Freshmen - Seniors, some who love theatre and some who are in it because they think it's an easy A. In my class, we spend a good week getting to know each other so that we can form a "cast" - but I'm really interested in what folks do on the first day. What gets students excited and makes them want to come and find out what's next? Thoughts? 

  • 2.  RE: First Day Lesson!

    Posted 08-06-2019 17:11
    I go over the syllabus pretty quickly then get everyone on their feet in a circle and have them play a few theatre games. I make sure the games are loud and active and everyone has to participate (at least superficially). I am super honest and tell them that they are going to feel silly or embarrassed for the first week or so and it is intentional; and the fact that I do everything with them really helps them to be willing to try on that first day. After they all feel ridiculous together for the first week, it is much easier to work together on anything I ask them to do. It makes the classroom a really safe place to try new things because they have already gotten past the embarrassment issues of performing with and for each other.

    Shira Schwartz
    Chandler Unified School District
    Chandler AZ

  • 3.  RE: First Day Lesson!

    Posted 08-07-2019 07:00
    I usually start in silence doing a series of simple actions that the class does with me until we are all working together in simultaneous movement. This leads to a quick conversation about the power of ensemble and communication and the line between performer and audience. The stakes are low but powerful. I also typically roll out a long sheet of butcher paper and give everyone markers and ask them to write down everything they know about theatre and then everything they hope to experience themselves in the class - or I may have two/three other specific prompts - the point is to bring that butcher paper back out on the last days of class and have a good reflection of how far we’ve come. The kids are always delighted when it rolls back out. Most of all, I think it’s important on the first day of class to give each student a chance to introduce themselves and say something about what they want/expect/hope/wonder about the class and to take notes on what they say. This list will be an important start to the class agreements we will write up together in the second and third classes so everyone has agency and buy-in for the semester. Good luck!